The United States of America


Curiosity and bravery led the English to discover the East Coast of what is now the United States of America. These strong willed Europeans, determined to find a new world, set out with high hopes and ambitions. Settling a variety of colonies along the coast of North America, the English were among the first true pioneers. After several expeditions and shiploads of emigrants, the English had a divergence of reasons for departing Europe for America. The settlers of the Chesapeake and New England colonies were foreigners to the land, but they established two exceptional but contrary societies due to the diversity of English citizens. Chesapeake and New England colonies, although from the same English background, developed distinctions from the very start of the sixteenth century; their reasons for fleeing Europe, political standards, family life, religions and use of land.


With King James I offering a charter for the Virginia Company of London, a joint stock company, to prompt a settlement in the New World, profit filled Englishmen could not refuse this gracious proposal. A promise of golden lands and a new passage route through America to the West Indies, the hearty men embarked on a journey that, to their eyes, seemed to be through the vast unknown. Arriving on the shores of Chesapeake Bay in 1606, they were soon attacked by Indians. Finally having to settle on the James River (named in honor of their King) the Virginia Company was forced to make their home within a mosquito infested and unhealthily region. Beginning their arduous search from the onset, the stubborn men searched for gold day and night through starvation, malnutrition, and disease. The Englishmen of the Virginia Company voyaged to America with their hearts in hope of gold and their minds set on discovering this precious metal and nothing else.


Meanwhile, back in England around the 1530’s, King Henry VIII had broken ties with the Roman Catholic Church and was anointing himself the Head of the Church of England. Soon in 1603 King James I become the head of the Church of England causing the Puritans to oppose him as a spiritual leader. Since they could resist him as a spiritual leader and then would certainly defy as a political leader as well, King James I menaced them out of the land. Compelled to sail to America in search of religious toleration these English soon founded Plymouth colony. They were separatist known as Pilgrims who settled the land in strong belief that they would be free of religious prosecution. Coming to America for entirely opposite motivations caused these two colonies to begin to contrast from the very start. Controlling the colonies dealing with separate perspectives on life, Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay colony (part of New England) and Governor William Berkley of the Virginia colony (part of Chesapeake) had a difference in views on the upraising of a community. According to John Winthrop all people are equal; the rich, the poor, the mean, and the powerful. With God at the center of the New England colony, the pilgrims believed in working together as one for the glory of God, where the colonists at Chesapeake believed that one man could be better then another. In 1630 while Governor Winthrop was aboard the Arbella he writes that the community needs to uphold a fellowship together. Their unity should be abided by one spirit of peace for everyone is a worthy servant of Christ. On the other hand Governor Berkeley’s viewpoint was quite varied form that of Winthrop’s. In a statement to his council on defending Virginia against a Dutch attack in 1673, Berkeley addresses his council by telling them that it is their duty to take part in a war to guard their country. By declaring that Negroes and men in debt are not good enough to defend the country, he is clearly putting people of his colony in social order, which is exactly what the Governor of the New England colonies preached against.


These two adequate governors strived to achieve the best for their colonies and helped the growth of two separate societies. Both governors, although coming from highly different backgrounds and mindsets had simular reasons for the different view points on the formulation of each the